Tag Archives: Virus

West Nile spraying scheduled for parts of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens, including along the Brooklyn-Queens border, to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Sept. 17 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of City Line, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Spring Creek and Woodhaven (Bordered by Jamaica Avenue and to the north; Shepherd Avenue, Fulton Street Line and Fountain Avenue to the west; Jamaica Bay to the south; and Rockaway Rail-Line, Rockaway Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard to the east).

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

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Flu has reached epidemic proportions


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's flickr

The early and rapid spread of this year’s flu season has had deadly consequences.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu has reached epidemic status, causing 7.3 percent of deaths last week. The CDC’s epidemic threshold is marked at 7.2 percent.

Every region of the United States — excluding the Southwest and California — registered a spike in the number of cases of the flu over the past week.

Boston, the city hit hardest by the disease, has seen 700 confirmed cases of flu and four flu-related deaths so far this season. Last year, Boston had only 70 confirmed cases.

The CDC said that flu-associated deaths each season range from 3,000 people to about 49,000 people. Those at increased risk for serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

Symptoms of the respiratory viral infection include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

The CDC cautions those hoping to obtain the flu vaccine that the coveted shot may be difficult to find. Pharmacies have reported an increase in the number of people looking to get vaccinated, and contacting more than one provider may be a necessary part of the search.

A pharmacy staff member at the CVS on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria said they ran out of the flu shot several days ago and had just been restocked today.

“We have them in stock now but now a lot people are coming in to get them,” said the pharmacy staff member, who estimated they would be out of the vaccine again by the end of the day.

Whitestone man gets West Nile


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

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Dominick Totino said it took six years – and a diagnosis of West Nile Virus in his elderly father – for his Whitestone neighbor to finally clean up his property – kind of.

Totino said his 86-year-old father Giuseppe, who suffers from heart problems, spent 12 days in St. Francis Hospital at the end of August.

“He had an infection the doctors couldn’t find,” said the photographer for Borough President Helen Marshall. “He was on antibiotics and was released because he was stable. My sister asked for tests for Lyme disease and West Nile.”

When the results came back positive for West Nile, Totino said “everything started to make sense.”

“My first inclination was the house next door – it’s been overgrown for six years,” he said. “Every time we see him we ask him to cut it back. It took this. All the adjacent houses have well-manicured yards.”

The Totinos (Dominick lives next door to his dad, mom and sister) say the house in question on 18th Avenue has been vacant since it was purchased.

They say they have contacted 3-1-1 and even City Councilmember Dan Halloran.

According to the Department of Buildings web site, the property – reportedly in and out of foreclosure – has eight violations, dating back to May, 2008. And according to reports, in 2007, the owner was fined $25,000 by the Environmental Control Board.

Totino, who has been chronicling the problem for years, said following media attention, the owner “said he was sorry and vowed to clean up the property.”

“He showed up with men, only because I put so much pressure on him and because of my dad.”

However, Totino says that the clean-up effort was half-hearted at best.

“As we speak there are 30 black bags of weeds in the yard. They only cut the vegetation down. If it continues to rain we’ll be back to where we were.”

And, he said, a recent inspection by the Department of Health, which reportedly found no evidence of standing water, was “a complete waste of time.”

“They did the inspection from the sidewalk and it hadn’t even rained.”